Clifton Davis was born in Chicago and is the son of an evangelist. By the age of 15, he was set on an acting career. In 1963, he graduated from Pine Forge Institute and from there concentrated on his singing and acting career. During the '60s, his career focused mainly on the stage. He made his Broadway debut in 1968 with How to Steal an Election with music and lyrics by Oscar Brand. He also starred in Two Gentlemen of Verona, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award. For his role in the musical Do It Again, he received the Theatre World Award.
Despite his success on Broadway, the star became involved in drugs and alcohol at an early age. Davis recounts these experiences during his seminars and lectures across the country. He blames his addictions on peer pressure. During this time he claims he "lost valuable time and money and gained sickness, depression and desperation." Lately he has been reaching out to college and university students, telling them his story, hoping they learn from his experiences.
Aside from his stage reputation, Davis has also garnered film and television credits. In 1971, he made several appearances on Love American Style. This was followed by him becoming the host of his own variety show, The Melba Moore-Clifton Davis Show, on ABC. His film career began in 1974 with the film Lost in the Stars. From 1974-1975, he portrayed Clifton Curtis on the comedy show That's My Mama.
The '80s were a very important decade for Davis. His popularity and fame grew enormously in 1986 when he starred as Reverend Reuben Gregory, opposite Sherman Hemsley, on the comedy sitcom Amen. During the four years the show was on the air, Davis also played the role of a minister in real life. He was the associate pastor at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in California. He also starred in several movies in the '80s, including The Night the City Screamed, Don't Look Back: The Story of Leroy "Satchel" Paige, and Dream Date. Aside from his singing and acting talents, Davis is also credited with being a songwriter. He wrote the Jackson 5 hit "Never Can Say Goodbye." Despite obstacles and hardships, Clifton Davis remains a famous, inspiring actor and singer who contributed greatly to stage, film, and television. ~ Kim Summers, Rovi